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2018 3.6R Limited - Magnetite - LP Adventure lift
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Specifically looking for people's experience with this car (The gen V outback) in deep sand.

It may be the deciding factor on buying one. If it won't do the job, I'd be better off buying something else. I wish I could rent one, but Ive yet to find a place in SE Va that has any.

I dont want to get stuck with it, only to find out it wont do what we need.

I do understand about airing down, putting 17's and good AT tires on it, and that's the plan. I also know any vehicle can get stuck in the sand. This is my only capability concern, but it's a big one for me. Roof basket and a spot for my rods for beach fishing, but the car needs to get me over the dunes. There's been some discusion on this here, but I wanted a specific thread with experiences.

If I could only rent one of the things for a weekend......
 

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2016 subaru outback 3.6r, 2011 Subaru ForesterXt
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Specifically looking for people's experience with this car (The gen V outback) in deep sand.

It may be the deciding factor on buying one. If it won't do the job, I'd be better off buying something else. I wish I could rent one, but Ive yet to find a place in SE Va that has any.

I dont want to get stuck with it, only to find out it wont do what we need.

I do understand about airing down, putting 17's and good AT tires on it, and that's the plan. I also know any vehicle can get stuck in the sand. This is my only capability concern, but it's a big one for me. Roof basket and a spot for my rods for beach fishing, but the car needs to get me over the dunes. There's been some discusion on this here, but I wanted a specific thread with experiences.

If I could only rent one of the things for a weekend......
It will do fine even with stock tires but if you follow your plan of putting taller tires on it, you will find it will outperform just about any 4x4 out there in deep powdery sand. My outback has made a total laughing stock of my last two inefficient constant breakdown Jeeps. Turn off the skid control when you get to the beach.
 

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2017 Outback 3.6R
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I was running mine out on the sand at OBX a couple weeks ago. Out on 4X4 beach. I had no problems getting around. I did get some funny looks however.
 

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17 OB Premium, White/Black. 152K miles-0 issues.
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Heat buildup in the CVT may be worth watching. I drive mine in sand with no traction problems but would not do it for more than a dozen miles or more than an hour. Depends on the resistance.
 

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2018 3.6R Limited - Magnetite - LP Adventure lift
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I was running mine out on the sand at OBX a couple weeks ago. Out on 4X4 beach. I had no problems getting around. I did get some funny looks however.
No problems with dune entrances and ruts, etc?
 

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2013 OB 3.6R (former)
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Sand is where a Subaru excels so long as one remembers that:

-traction control/VDC must be off
-tires must be aired down to 18 psi for deep sand or lower if really bad

That said, you will be limited by clearance, just as any other vehicle. Thus lift and oversize tires always help.

I have no idea what your area looks like but in the desert ditches are a big problem due to the overhangs, hence lift and oversize tires help a lot. So there is that, but should not be as much of an issue on a beach.

Yes, getting on a hill that starts at a sharp angle can be a problem for an Outback, especially a stock one. A Forester definitely has the advantage here (not XV Crosstrek, that one has the same AA as an OB).

Your only reasonable alternatives are a Wrangler or a 4Runner and they both can be, and have been, outdone by Subaru models in sand. This is why the Australians on ORS are so passionate about their Subarus being better than Toyotas etc. Here in the rocky Southwest I could use a 4Runner TRD but for a beach I would not consider anything other than a Subaru. Trailhawk Cherokees and LR4s have overheated or otherwise failed even during magazine testing, imagine in one's own use.

In sum, the Forester has the angles advantage over the OB and is the better choice if you think you will be "playing" around or if your terrain truly challenges the angles or if you want to stay completely stock. But if your goal is to get places, the OB would be the better overall choice because it has more room and is more comfortable.

Finally, each and every vehicle can get stuck in sand. The comparative low weight of a Subaru is always an advantage both to prevent that and to deal with it when it happens.
 

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2018 3.6R Limited - Magnetite - LP Adventure lift
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
weight is what draws me to it.

I wish the crosstrek was bigger. It looks much better than an OB. But it's small. So small. And anemic.

If we had desert or something, I might be more interested in something else.

This car needs to do OBX and beach sand, the occasional winter weather, and maybe some rough fire roads, but no rock crawling. The sand thing is important though.

I dont like the forester. Its.... Goofy.
 

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2017 2.5i Premium Subaru Ambassador
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@MiddleAgeSubie post is what I do as well. I've taken my stock gen 4 (no traction control) several times to OBX, and kept my tires aired down, kept out of wet yellowish sand and deep ruts. I found even with no TC the OB was more civilized over sand than 4x4 I've driven.if

My current gen 5 is intended to be daily driver and part time beach buggy. Before the lift, just having the A/T's, and TC, on OBX sand made a big difference.

And when I did get stuck, on a NJ beach, the lighter weight helped as it took one person rocking the OB while I backed out of the ruts where my wheels were spinning after airing down to about 13lbs from 18lbs.
 

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weight is what draws me to it.

I wish the crosstrek was bigger. It looks much better than an OB. But it's small. So small. And anemic.

If we had desert or something, I might be more interested in something else.

This car needs to do OBX and beach sand, the occasional winter weather, and maybe some rough fire roads, but no rock crawling. The sand thing is important though.

I dont like the forester. Its.... Goofy.

@DavidPeab might have actually driven some of the coast there in MD, VA, and NC.

I presume OBX = outer banks, north carolina. (Assateague = coastal Maryland)

(this is a world wide board,...and the alphabet soup does not help).

as a example, @rasterman drives his car on the sand by CC (you look that up, ...its not Cape Canaveral )

so updating title.


______

Forester,..if you are drawn to it in morbid curiosity of what you deem goofy: (bigger then crosstrek,....smaller foot print then outback,...problem is the front seats are just plain hard and narrow compared to outbacks,...so if you intend to buy one, sit in it for more then 45 minutes,..and make sure you can live with it....I never sat in one that I wanted to own....maybe next year when it gets on the "global" platform = sold in 2018 as a 2019 model)

lots of people love them though. (shorter approach and departure angles then a outback,...so for some people it is the right tool for the job.,...although I think I would use a tractor to fix and maintain a driveway that a forester can make and a outback would drag on.).

...and I know people that fix and groom with a tractor, their group driveway with 10 cabins on it every spring after the ice / snow drain off so they can drive minivans up. (one guy up on the end has a 25hp tractor that 3 of them walk up to get, and until he fixes the driveway they all just park at the bottom, its quick work for a tractor, one on the tractor and 2 rolling any boulders and logs)..

_____

if you got real dunes to drag the bottom on.: consider aftermarket metal skid plates. plastic ones rip when they get in contact with sand dunes. ...just like snow banks with chunks of ice in them from a municipal plow on the end of a driveway.

I guess one can take a few minutes to rake and shovel the top few inches of sand on any high spots that appear though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The forester just felt, looks, etc less planted. Also, the seats were absolutely horrible.

We didnt like the inside. The crosstrek was awesome. Would be the car we'd get, if it wasnt so tiny. Its much smaller insider than my golf wagon, or so it seems.
 

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You will want to think about payload as well.

If you plan to keep the vehicle for a long time AND travel heavy at some point in the future, the 4Runner really has no alternatives on the market today.

If the OB's payload and cargo space will be enough in the long run, then the question is whether the extra ditch a 4Runner will be able to cross justifies having a 4Runner over the remaining 99.99% of the time.

There is always a compromise involved. The only do-it-all vehicle I really like is the new LR Discovery but it comes with a hefty price tag and I am rather suspicious about its dependability.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
4 runners are gas hogs. No thanks. Theyre also simply outdated. The outback is bigger than what we have now (golf TDI wagon) and that is large enough. Slightly more (than the golf wagon, which is larger than you think) would be nice. Its just the two of us and the dogs. My only real problem with the outback (have not driven one) so far is that its boring and un inspiring, both in looks and powertrain. A turbo and the crosstrek's looks would make it much better. But as I approach my mid 40's I care less about what the car looks like and more about what it's capable of.

I fear coming from the TDI / DSG, I'll hate a NA 2.5 with CVT.

I can get an OB limited, and a used GTI or something for daily driving use on my 30 mile commute, maybe. I doubt Id be happy with the OB in city traffic. I like nimble, smaller cars for my commute. For the price of a 4 runner, or Grand Cherokee, I could have both an OB and used GTI. Wife could drive the OB on her 5 miler.

Land rover is not something we would consider.
 

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Specifically looking for people's experience with this car (The gen V outback) in deep sand.

It may be the deciding factor on buying one. If it won't do the job, I'd be better off buying something else. I wish I could rent one, but Ive yet to find a place in SE Va that has any.

I dont want to get stuck with it, only to find out it wont do what we need.

I do understand about airing down, putting 17's and good AT tires on it, and that's the plan. I also know any vehicle can get stuck in the sand. This is my only capability concern, but it's a big one for me. Roof basket and a spot for my rods for beach fishing, but the car needs to get me over the dunes. There's been some discusion on this here, but I wanted a specific thread with experiences.

If I could only rent one of the things for a weekend......

I feel uniquely qualified on this question. I have worked on the beach since the 90s. In MD.
1. MD sand is much different than anywhere on the east coast. It is MUCH softer. I is much harder on vehicles. Some beaches in MD are real, some are fake. The ones that the public can drive on are “real” sand, like Assateague island. The fake sand in OCMD is WAY worse. On the plus side there are sune crossings for vehicles. They are flat. You will not get stuck.
2. Subaru’s work great on the beach. Some beach patrols use the old Subaru baja pickup trucks.
3. Salt and sand is super hard on mechanical machines. The life expectancy of a ATV of Truck is measured in DAYS on the beach. I have crashed several ATVs dues to structural failures inside the first 200 days n the beach.
4. Most people that live at the beach do not take their good car anywhere near the sand. Most people take beaters on the beach. There are many old subarus on FB for $500 – 2000 that will get you down the beach no problems.
5. Get a roof rack to put on your beach stuff in. It will keep 90% of the sand out of your car. A cool side effect is that the roof top box will shade your car keeping it cooler.
6. People are awesome. People would love for you to get stuck so they can pull you out. Thats just good old fashion fun. But it won’t happen.
7. If you are worried about learning how to dive on the sand wait till after a big storm the first time. The sand will be harder and you will have a much harder time getting stuck.
8. Know your tides.
9. Amazon has electric air pumps that are programmable to shut off at programmable pressure. Great tool to have.
10. If you only remember one rule #4
 

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2013 OB 3.6R (former)
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I feel uniquely qualified on this question. I have worked on the beach since the 90s. In MD.
1. MD sand is much different than anywhere on the east coast. It is MUCH softer. I is much harder on vehicles. Some beaches in MD are real, some are fake. The ones that the public can drive on are “real” sand, like Assateague island. The fake sand in OCMD is WAY worse. On the plus side there are sune crossings for vehicles. They are flat. You will not get stuck.
2. Subaru’s work great on the beach. Some beach patrols use the old Subaru baja pickup trucks.
3. Salt and sand is super hard on mechanical machines. The life expectancy of a ATV of Truck is measured in DAYS on the beach. I have crashed several ATVs dues to structural failures inside the first 200 days n the beach.
4. Most people that live at the beach do not take their good car anywhere near the sand. Most people take beaters on the beach. There are many old subarus on FB for $500 – 2000 that will get you down the beach no problems.
5. Get a roof rack to put on your beach stuff in. It will keep 90% of the sand out of your car. A cool side effect is that the roof top box will shade your car keeping it cooler.
6. People are awesome. People would love for you to get stuck so they can pull you out. Thats just good old fashion fun. But it won’t happen.
7. If you are worried about learning how to dive on the sand wait till after a big storm the first time. The sand will be harder and you will have a much harder time getting stuck.
8. Know your tides.
9. Amazon has electric air pumps that are programmable to shut off at programmable pressure. Great tool to have.
10. If you only remember one rule #4
This is a great post!

As for the OP, have you driven an H6 OB? A 2011-4 should be available for around 20 or even less. It is not a WRX but it is definitely not slow and its power-train is among the most dependable on the market.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
A beater isn't something I want to drive 3 hours one way to break down.

Ive never had a problem with the older trucks I sued to drive, if you wash them properly and stay out of the water / salt.

The last one I had got more salt spray from the ferry than from the sand. We live on the Mobjack anyway, so its always sort of harsh here.
 

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2016 subaru outback 3.6r, 2011 Subaru ForesterXt
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You will want to think about payload as well.

If you plan to keep the vehicle for a long time AND travel heavy at some point in the future, the 4Runner really has no alternatives on the market today.

If the OB's payload and cargo space will be enough in the long run, then the question is whether the extra ditch a 4Runner will be able to cross justifies having a 4Runner over the remaining 99.99% of the time.

There is always a compromise involved. The only do-it-all vehicle I really like is the new LR Discovery but it comes with a hefty price tag and I am rather suspicious about its dependability.
I was planning on buying a 4runner or Tacoma before I bought the Outback. I could not believe how poorly the new models drove. Toyota has screwed up the shift points as to where they always felt under powered. My sons old 4 banger Tacoma had better pickup than the new six. They also had a horrible vibration that you could feel in the steering wheel and floor at all times. The salesman said I would "get used to it." I drove straight to the Subaru dealer, test drove an Outback and ordered one on the spot. Now at 35,000 miles already, I'm sure glad that I did.
 

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4 runners are gas hogs. No thanks. Theyre also simply outdated. The outback is bigger than what we have now (golf TDI wagon) and that is large enough. Slightly more (than the golf wagon, which is larger than you think) would be nice. Its just the two of us and the dogs. My only real problem with the outback (have not driven one) so far is that its boring and un inspiring, both in looks and powertrain. A turbo and the crosstrek's looks would make it much better. But as I approach my mid 40's I care less about what the car looks like and more about what it's capable of.

I fear coming from the TDI / DSG, I'll hate a NA 2.5 with CVT.

I can get an OB limited, and a used GTI or something for daily driving use on my 30 mile commute, maybe. I doubt Id be happy with the OB in city traffic. I like nimble, smaller cars for my commute. For the price of a 4 runner, or Grand Cherokee, I could have both an OB and used GTI. Wife could drive the OB on her 5 miler.

Land rover is not something we would consider.
Why not get a 3.6? I came out of a 2013 TDI Sport Wagon and couldn't be happier with my 3.6. If you are concerned with Gas mileage and want that 2.5 to perform like your TDI you will probably only be sacrificing 1 or 2 MPG getting the 3.6(unless you exceed the performance of the TDI). The 3.6 will literally blow the doors off a TDI! I would have considered an Allroad but they changed the way the back seats fold down in 2014 which reduced the usable Cargo area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Why not get a 3.6? I came out of a 2013 TDI Sport Wagon and couldn't be happier with my 3.6. If you are concerned with Gas mileage and want that 2.5 to perform like your TDI you will probably only be sacrificing 1 or 2 MPG getting the 3.6(unless you exceed the performance of the TDI). The 3.6 will literally blow the doors off a TDI! I would have considered an Allroad but they changed the way the back seats fold down in 2014 which reduced the usable Cargo area.
1-2 mpg? Looks more like 6-8 to me.

32 vs 25 highway?
 

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1-2 mpg? Looks more like 6-8 to me.

32 vs 25 highway?
Go read real world experiences! I get over 27 with my 3.6 averaging over 70. Most people with 2.5's seem to get 27-29 at those speeds and only get over 30 at 60-65MPH. I suspect I would get 28-29 if I averaged 65.
 
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